A memorable experience with volunteering, involved our family couch many years ago.
It happened during my freshman year in high school when I was about fifteen years old.
In a small town, not a lot happens, but there are ‘events’ that everyone looks forward to all year. And one of the highlights for us, was the parade at the beginning of the school year.
My friends and I were talking and laughing during class one day, when an announcement came over the loud speaker.
It was a ‘reminder that ALL clubs were required to have a float in the parade. What a rude interruption that was! To add to it, if there was no float – grades would be cut in half! No one wanted, or could risk that of course. The problem was, the parade was that day!
What in the world were we going to do? We only had a few hours to figure out what in the world to do.
We tossed ideas around, till someone suggested we should get a truck and trailer to pull behind the truck.
Now, if someone could get a couch or something to put on the trailer to sit on. Then we could put on some decorations on the trailer too; well, that would solve our problem.
Great idea! Everyone had a truck and trailer it seemed, but no one had a couch their mother would allow on a float. After a long, long silence with no one volunteering up their mother’s couch – or anything else to sit on.
I could see that they were in a pinch, and my mom always was a good sport, and taught us to volunteer
So, I naturally offered our couch since they were in a bind and needed one. Mom would be ok with it I figured, she always taught me to help out anyone in need— right? There was not way to contact my mom. We didn’t have cell phones or anything like that, and I couldn’t call her at work —- but I knew she wouldn’t mind.
We all arranged to meet at my house right after class, to get the couch. That would give a little time to make a float of some sort for the parade….which again, was THAT afternoon.
I hurried home and waited on the steps.
It wasn’t long before the guys came down the street in a truck.
Some were sitting in the back of the open bed, while others were piled in the front cab. And a flatbed trailer kind of bounced behind as it was being pulled by the truck.
We went inside to get the couch and realized immediately there was a problem.
See, an addition to accommodate more storage had been built onto the entrance to make more room. This blocked the original door after all the furniture had already been put into the front room. This made it now impossible for the couch to make the L-turn to go out the door it had once come in through.
The guys were kind of upset and sad. But, I’m usually positive and try to figure out a solution.
Why not take it out the front window?
There was a large big plate glass window that would accommodate the couch.
These were farm boys and knew how to work with their hands and improvise. So they undid the bolts, gently lifted the large piece of glass off the side of the house and set it aside.
A guys carefully hefted the couch from the living room and fit it through the open space. There were strong guys on the outside, who took the couch and placed it on the open bed of the trailer.
The glass set back in place, making sure all the bolts tightened and everything was as it should be.
Securely strapped down, off drove the truck with my mom’s couch on the trailer.
I hurried to the horse stall in the back of our yard.
See, I wanted to ride my horse with the 4-H Club in the parade, much more than ride on a float – with or without – my mom’s couch.
Quickly I groomed and made my horse, Blaze, look handsome. I saddled up and rode off to meet at the beginning of the parade route with my 4-H Club.
Mom and I had prearranged for her to watch me in the parade, because that’s what mom’s do :-)
The parade began with the usual small town companies advertising their stores and wares. Next, came the high school and junior high bands. Now came the floats. They began their slow procession of trying not to bump into each other, or to allow for much distance between the vehicles.
As mom stood watching the parade. I’m sure you can imagine her surprise as a truck drove by, with a trailer hitched behind it, with a bunch of teenagers hooting and hollering atop of HER couch!
See, there is no mistaking my mom’s couch because it was specially made by a family friend who owned a furniture business. No doubt, it was her’s.
Immediately mom set out to find me.
As I mentioned I was riding my horse. Horses are always banned to the very end of the parade, so she had a little bit of a walk to find me.
I came to a more crowded part of main street, to find my mom being to job alongside the road as I had my horse in a very slow trot. We have a conversation of this sort:
Mom – Is that my couch?
Me – Yes!
Mom – Why is my couch on that trailer, or that supposed to be float?
Me – Because they needed it.
Mom – How did you get it out of the house?
Me – We took it out the window.
Mom – WHAT? Is the glass broken?
Me – Nope, the guys were careful mom.
Mom – But you didn’t ask me!
Me – I couldn’t get hold of you and I knew you wouldn’t mind if I was helping someone else.
Aaawww….my poor mom
And I really don’t remember how we got the couch and the glass back in the house ;-)